A concept designed to rid the oceans of plastic waste is to become a reality next year. Boyan's Slat's Ocean Cleanup system is expected to be deployed in the second quarter of 2016 in the waters between Japan and South Korea. It will be the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean.
When Gizmag first featured the Ocean Cleanup project, it was yet to reach proof-of-concept stage. Since then, it has completed a positive feasibility study, crowdfunded a pilot phase to the tune of around US$2.1 million and been named a category winner in the 2015 Designs of the Year awards.
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The premise of the idea is to employ long floating arms to collect pieces of plastic floating in the ocean. The system is passive in the sense that ocean currents are used to push plastic waste into the arms and toward a central point where it is collected. Marine-life is able to pass underneath the arms due to their floating on the surface of the water.
The system will be deployed off the coast of Tsushima island in the Korea Strait. Around 1 cu m (35 cu ft) of pollution per person is said to be washed up each year at Tsushima, prompting the Japanese government to seek innovative solutions to the problem.
The deployment will span 2,000 m (6,600 ft), which the Ocean Cleanup Project says will make it longer than the current longest floating structure to have ever been deployed in the ocean, the 1,000 m (3,300 ft) Tokyo Mega-Float. A number of deployments increasing in scale are planned over the next five years, leading, ultimately, to a 100-km-long (62-mi-long) system at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California.
The video below is an artist's impression of what the Ocean Cleanup system will look like.
Source: The Ocean Cleanup